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Bucs @ Saints Preview: Three key matchups when the Bucs have the ball

Here are my three key matchups when the Bucs have the ball. 

Legarrette Blount vs Jonathan Vilma
The Saints defense has struggled to stop the run all season, and Legarrette Blount is in prime position to take advantage. Jonathan Vilma has been the weak spot for the New Orleans run defense, struggling to shed blocks and make an impact in the run game. At the same time their beefed up defensive line includes Aubrayo Franklin, but they haven't been stout either. 

The Bucs should take advantage here by pounding the rock mercilessly down the Saints' throat. Run, run, run should be their motto - and only when the Saints force the Bucs to pass should they go there. 

Luke Stocker and Kellen Winslow vs Roman Harper
Another weak point in the Saints defense is Roman Harper. The safety has really struggled to keep up with anyone in coverage, and has generally had a very poor season. The Bucs can take advantage of this by finding Kellen Winslow and Luke Stocker in coverage vs Roman Harper, who was generally responsible for Kellen Winslow last time these two teams playes.

Stocker was unavailable in the last matchup, but he is healthy now and could play a big role on offense. The Bucs really like to run two-tight end sets, and those will get Luke Stocker some opportunity to show what he can do as a run blocker and as a pass catcher. Specifically the Bucs should use him to threaten the seams when the Saints are in zone coverage. 

Arrelious Benn vs the score
Arrelious Benn needs to get the football. Last time, he was targeted six times and caught three passes for 83 yards and a touchdown. His 65-yard touchdown catch opened up the Bucs offense and got them going through the rest of the game. If the Bucs want to win, they need to find ways to get him involved again. 

Unfortunately, it appears that they will keep him out of the game in passing situations, as has been the case ever since the second-year player came to Tampa. As long as the game is relatively close, Arrelious Benn will be on the field. But if the Saints manage to build a lead and the Bucs are forced to go to their passing sets, Benn will disappear. The Bucs need to keep the game close to keep Benn on the field - or they need to actually start using him on passing downs.